NEW DELHI: Their progress halted by a defeat and a draw, table-toppers Mohammedan Sporting will be aiming to bounce back from their recent slump in form when they face Rajasthan FC in a Round 15 match of the I-League 2023-24 on Tuesday.
The Kolkata giants were cruising along at the top of the table, unbeaten in 11 matches before they suffered their first loss in the tournament against Real Kashmir. They were expected to make amends in their next game against Aizawl FC but had to settle for a goalless draw last week.
Despite recent challenges on the pitch, Mohammedan Sporting’s position in the I-League standings remains strong. They continue to lead the table, amassing 28 points from 13 matches, which includes eight wins, four draws, and just a single loss. However, the focus will still be firmly on Mohammedan Sporting’s ability to overcome their recent struggles and consolidate their top position in the league.
But it won’t be easy. Their forwards, particularly David Lalhlansanga, need to convert chances against Rajasthan United FC, who have remained unbeaten for six matches. However, their current ninth position in the I-League table doesn’t reflect their recent upswing in performance. No wonder then that they will see the upcoming match as a golden opportunity to continue their ascent and further improve their position in the league. Mohammedan Sporting’s dip in form has opened up the I-League title race, providing an opportunity for other contenders to narrow the gap at the top. Gokulam Kerala FC are one such team poised to capitalise on this situation.
Having secured victories in their last two matches with convincing scorelines, Gokulam Kerala are set to maintain their momentum against Shillong Lajong FC on Monday. Currently positioned fourth in the league standings, Gokulam Kerala have 20 points from 12 matches. Gokulam Kerala striker Alejandro Sanchez Lopez — the top scorer so far in the league — will also aim to add to his tally of 13 goals.
Shillong Lajong, on the other hand, find themselves just a point behind Gokulam Kerala, occupying the sixth spot after the same number of matches. Lajong will be looking to return to their winning ways after suffering a defeat in their last outing against Inter Kashi.
Sreenidi Deccan will face TRAU FC in another crucial match on Wednesday. The Deccan Warriors are third in the table with 23 points from 12 games and have had a rollercoaster season. They will be trying to find more consistency and establish themselves as firm title contenders against the bottom-placed TRAU. Another team who will be trying to climb the table are Aizawl FC, as they take on Delhi FC on Thursday. Aizawl have 20 points from 12 matches and are fifth in the standings after having remained unbeaten for the last eight matches.
The significance of the upcoming match against Delhi FC is heightened by the fact that Aizawl’s last defeat in the league came at the hands of this very opponent. This history adds an extra layer of motivation for Aizawl FC as they seek to avenge their previous loss against Delhi FC, who are eighth in the table with 16 points from 11 matches. In other matches, the 10th-placed Namdhari will face fellow strugglers NEROCA FC, while Inter Kashi will aim to bounce back from their recent loss when they take on Churchill Brothers. Both matches will be played on Wednesday.